Detection and Diagnosis
Breast cancer can be detected in a number of ways. First, a woman may notice changes in her own breast tissue and she may bring them to the attention of her medical provider. Alternatively, a medical provider may perceive a change in a woman’s breast tissue during a clinical breast exam. Breast cancer may also be detected through a screening mammogram.
If potential breast cancer is detected on a mammogram, other evaluations are needed in order for a woman to receive a definitive breast cancer diagnosis. A medical provider may order another type of imaging study, such as a breast ultrasound or a breast MRI, in order to better evaluate the suspicious breast tissue.
If an ultrasound or MRI of the breast confirms that an area of breast tissue looks suspicious for cancer, then a woman may need to have a breast biopsy. A biopsy is a minimally-invasive procedure in which a surgeon removes a small piece of breast tissue, typically using a small needle. This will allow a medical team to directly visualize the cells in a tissue sample using a microscope, in order to determine whether or not they are cancerous. A biopsy of a nearby lymph node may also be done at the time of a breast biopsy.
If a tissue biopsy shows cancerous cells, a patient will receive an official diagnosis of breast cancer.
When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, he or she will be connected with a team of medical specialists who will serve as guides throughout the treatment process. The “team captain” of a cancer care team is typically a medical oncologist. Other team members who may be involved in a cancer care team include a breast surgeon, pathologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, and mental health professional, among others.
Lompoc Mammography Services
Lompoc Valley Medical Center has the latest state-of-the-art equipment for performing digital mammography. Mammography is a special type of imaging that uses small doses of X-ray radiation to find breast cancer in its earliest stages. Mammograms utilize specialized equipment to effectively record images of breast tissue that will record small abnormalities before you ever notice symptoms.
It is commonly recommended that women receive yearly mammograms after the age of 40, even if they do not have any noticeable symptoms or family history of breast cancer. Annual mammograms can detect cancer early which is when it is most treatable.
Lompoc Valley Medical Center
1515 East Ocean Ave
Lompoc, CA 93436
Laboratory & Imaging
1111 East Ocean Ave, Suite 2
Lompoc, CA 93436